China Telecom is working with the Zhenhai Refining and Chemical Co. to build a smart petroleum refinery in Ningbo, China, using multi-access edge computing (MEC). The MEC network will be based upon Huawei’s MEC@CloudEdge technology.
Huawei first demonstrated its MEC@CloudEdge architecture at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last February. The technology uses a cloud native architecture and positions the network functions and third-party applications at the network edge so that applications and content are processed closer to the user. This reduces latency and makes for a better user experience.
The China Telecom MEC network will use LTE, which has a two-hop flat architecture. This means that the base station and the core network are often separated by a significant distance causing unpredictable congestion and jitter. Moving the network functions and processing to the network edge can reduce latency.
China Telecom said it plans to use MEC@CloudEdge for services such as video surveillance, mobile office, and on-site data collection and transmission. When the MEC network is complete, a registered user with the Zhenhai Refining and Chemical Co. will be able to access both the private enterprise network and the public network.
This isn’t the first MEC network built with Huawei MEC@CloudEdge technology. In July, China Mobile Beijing said it was piloting a smart stadium at the Beijing South Railway Station using MEC@CloudEdge. That trial is looking at ways to integrate video content into an edge gateway. China Mobile customers that are at the stadium can watch content by scanning a QR code or subscribing to a video package.
Although China Telecom and China Mobile are both using MEC with 4G LTE networks, the technology is considered a key element of 5G. In fact, ETSI has created a Multi-access Edge Computing Industry Specification Group (MEC ISG) and has already released its first package of standardized application programming interfaces (APIs) that will support MEC interoperability.